Common Wedding Advice You Probably Shouldn't Follow

As professionals who have seen it all, our wedding experts are here to lend a hand and share some planning tips that you can leave behind.

wedding ceremony
Photo: Tracy Autem Photography

The excitement of wedding planning often comes with a wealth of advice from family and friends – sometimes unsolicited. While commonly-shared planning advice is often well-meaning, it can also be outdated or conflict with your priorities. And, if it’s your first time walking down the aisle, it’s tough to discern what’s important versus what you shouldn’t follow.

"Although there are certain DIY aspects couples enjoy taking part in, the concept of planning your own wedding is a huge no-no! Never has there been a couple who said they thoroughly enjoyed their wedding if they did all aspects of the planning, décor, floral, stationery, managing the venue and rentals, cooking, lighting, sound, managing guest RSVPs and accommodation/transportation, staffing, bar, dessert, entertainment all by themselves. If a couple is creative and wishes to design and print up their stationery early on in the calendar or choose their decor or rentals well before the wedding date, that's not unreasonable. For any activity during the month of the wedding, of which there is plenty, it is best to delegate everything to a professional monthly wedding planner/coordinator so the couple can enjoy the wedding." —Sarah Chianese, Mangia and Enjoy!

"'Your wedding party/parents/siblings/etc. can help with setup!’ This is terrible advice. Let them help and support you on the wedding day where you need them, and let the experts handle setup. You'll want to avoid stressing your VIPs so they can handle any tough stuff that comes up." —Megan Breukelman, Megan & Kenneth

"'Don't see each other before the ceremony.’ Ditch this tradition for a more modern first look, where you’ll see your partner in a (usually) secluded setting for a bit of privacy before the entire day unfolds. This is also a great way for your photo and video teams to get all your portraits and even group photos done before the ceremony, so you're free to celebrate with your guests immediately after." —Jon Lemon, JC Lemon Photography

"A common example of wedding advice a couple should avoid would be that they have to offer so much with the bar. I suggest the couples keep it simple with the bar selections. Depending on whether the venue allows products to be brought in or if there is a bartending/catering company providing the booze, you can run into some hiccups with one of the first service aspects of the event. Over-buying and over-offering on the bar can lead to a longer decision-making process, as well as some excess in leftover liquor at the end of the night." —Penny Haas, Penny Haas, LLC

"'Save money and hire a friend as your photographer.' Capturing a wedding day is complex and fast-paced, and you can't get those memories back if anything goes wrong and images are lost for some reason. Hiring a friend may sound like a good idea, but chances are they won't have any of the things that investing in a professional photographer will guarantee. Ultimately, hiring a friend is not fair to you or to them and can lead to tension in your friendship. A friend may miss important memories because they'll want to be celebrating alongside you — not stepping back to observe and capture what's unfolding. In comparison, a professional photographer, while being thrilled for you and emotionally invested in the success of your wedding day, will be able to stay focused on documenting the day rather than being an active participant in it." —Lynne Reznick, Lynne Reznick Photography

"'You don't need to do a ceremony rehearsal, everyone will know exactly what to do!’ In fact, most people will not know what to do, where to stand, what to say, and more. As much as we like to believe that everyone knows how it works 'by osmosis,' in fact, we find that most people feel comfortable having an idea of what is going on and how their part plays into it! Consider leaning into a full rehearsal of every detail possible, so no one is left wandering around on the big day stressed about their places." —Jen Sulak, Weirdo Weddings

"The wedding is to celebrate you moving into a new part of life. However, the wedding day is more than just about you two, it's about the joining of two families. As hosts, it is essential to prioritize the comfort and enjoyment of your guests, ensuring a welcoming atmosphere for everyone present. Thoughtful planning and consideration of every aspect of your guests' experience should be considered." —Mary Angelini, Key Moment Films

Wedding planning advice is not one-size-fits-all; one couple’s situation and preferences may not align with yours, and vice versa. Prioritize your interests first and foremost!

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.